Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham office construction 'highest for more than 13 years'

103 Colmore Row in Birmingham
Image caption The former NatWest tower is being replaced with a new 26-storey tower at 103 Colmore Row, including about 200,000 sq ft (18,600 sq m) of offices

Office construction in Birmingham is at its highest level in more than 13 years, a report has said.

The 969,000 sq ft (90,000 sq m) of space being built was "considerably above" the 10-year average of 384,000 sq ft (35,675 sq m), Deloitte said.

Of space under construction, 32% was already let.

Deloitte said from a low of 14,000 sq ft (1,300 sq m) of office construction in its 2013 Crane Survey it was clear "developer confidence has returned".

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It said the latest figure was the highest since it began its surveys in Birmingham.

Six new office starts have been recorded this time, which was the most seen in one such report, it said.

Analysis: Peter Plisner, BBC Midlands business correspondent

After last year's encouraging foreign investment figures showing Birmingham as one of the top places to invest, now comes the Deloitte Birmingham Crane Survey showing development is moving up a gear.

Across the city buildings are either being refurbished, or derelict sites are being developed from scratch.

Lower living costs are tempting more and more people to live in Birmingham and that's making relocation decisions by major companies much easier.

Add into the mix improvements in transport - including at the airport - more Metro lines and the proposed High Speed Two line and it's not difficult to see why Birmingham is now so attractive.

Deloitte said in previous years it had seen "a propensity to develop schemes in... Edgbaston, Digbeth and the Jewellery Quarter" but construction of new space was now more concentrated in the city centre.

More than 690 hotel rooms were being built across three schemes "after a hiatus of hotel development across the city in 2014," it said.

The report said although there was one new residential development of 600 homes, "the delivery of new residential units within the city has been below the 10-year average consistently since 2009".

It also said that, after two years, development of student accommodation had returned to the city centre, with one new project of 650 bed spaces being constructed off the A47 Jennens Road serving Birmingham City University.

Deloitte said its "clients, which cover occupiers, developers, construction firms and local authorities, see the survey as a barometer of developer sentiment and future supply".

It said the first London Crane Survey was published in 1996 and it was now seen "as a flagship industry report".

The research for the latest Birmingham report took place during late September and early October last year.

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